Selected Correspondence Vineeto
Apperceptive Awareness vs. Choiceless Awareness
RESPONDENT: What follows is a ramble. Would be delighted if you respond, of course. Emotion backed thoughts. Feelings. Emotions. Instincts. Instinctual passions. Thoughts. Beliefs. Thinker and Feeler and Social Identity and Instinctual Self. Apperception. Are all these things demonstrably distinct?
VINEETO: Given that Richard has answered your questions in detail, let me just add my understanding of how apperception works. As you continuously ask yourself ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ you are adding attention and awareness to whatever it is you are thinking and feeling this very moment. You become more and more aware not only of what you feel and think but also how your thoughts and feelings originate from and are maintained by your identity, both your social identity and your instinctual ‘being’.
The more you become aware of your feelings as they are occurring and your underlying identity, the weaker your identity becomes, which in turn frees your awareness for sensuous perception that was previously stifled. At some point there is so much awareness freed of its normal ‘self’-centredness that you are able to be both aware of everything that is happening and of this awareness in operation as well – and to be aware of being aware is apperception and apperception is what happens in a pure consciousness experience.
A PCE occurs when, for whatever reason, a ‘self’-less awareness is operating and awareness that is freed of the burden of ‘me’ becomes aware of itself. This is sometimes actuated either through a physically dangerous event like an accident, through a sudden shock, through drug use or an unusual relaxing experience like a nature experience. The actualism method – continuous and extensive attention, observation and questioning of ‘who’ you feel and think you are – is designed to increase awareness and facilitate apperception not only as a one-off event but as a more and more inevitable outcome of increased attentiveness.
RESPONDENT: The body of observations and conclusions presented in the website is ‘actualism’ to me. To the actualists this is ‘actuality’ and for somebody who is trying to understand, is it not a theory till (s)he verifies it for (him/her)self? And won’t it take time to verify it?
In that duration, is it not a theory for them? Apparently there seems to be some difficulty for those who are not ‘actualists’ to see the ‘actuality’, and it takes time and practice, even if there is willingness. Also there is this confusion that springs from oneself in these matters. Surely you will agree that all this doesn’t seem to be obvious without carefully going through, discussion, reflecting etc. to a lot of people. So it could take a long time before the premises are seen for their factual status, and the method verified for its effectiveness, and till then ‘actualism’ is a theory one is willing to explore...?
VINEETO: The moment you are willing to explore, i.e. to apply the method of actualism to become happy and harmless, you immediately change from a theorist with an intellectual understanding into a pragmatist who is then road-testing the method on his own psyche in action. And then you can verify for yourself that the method is indeed successful to make you more happy and more harmless. What usually ‘takes time’ is for people to begin to practice the method – and most never do – but once you begin to become aware of what you feel and think and systematically question the tried and failed, i.e. your beliefs and ‘truths’, then it becomes a lot easier to grasp ‘the actuality’.
RESPONDENT: 1. In dismantling the ‘feeler’, I found that ‘Feeling is not a fact’ to be useful; i.e. when the feeling is rampant, to realize that ‘what one feels to be true’ requires the ‘feeling’ to be true – i.e. when I question – ‘will what is felt be true if the feeling were not there to support it?’
VINEETO: Yes, a feeling is not a fact, but feelings are experienced to be very real, and that sometimes includes heart palpitations, sweaty palms, a change in the tone of your voice, a dry throat, a tightening in the stomach, etc. – in short, you can be palpably aware of a feeling when it is happening.
In spiritualism one is taught to become aware of one’s thoughts and feelings in order to dissociate from one’s unwanted feelings or thoughts and associate only with the desirable feelings and thoughts. The point in actualism, however, is to become aware of your feelings and thoughts in order to investigate their source. When this aim is clear, then the acknowledgment that ‘feeling is not a fact’ gives you the key to label and investigate your feeling, trace it back to what triggered it, what maintains it and what was the underlying reason that caused it to arise in the first place – you examine the beliefs, morals and ethics connected to your feeling until you arrive at the part of your identity that is creating and maintaining the particular feeling in question.
If ‘what is felt be true’, be it a belief, moral, ethic, or psittacism, is not examined and replaced by fact and common sense and if the particular feeling itself is not investigated and traced to its source, the same-same feeling will arise again and again in similar situations because the identity of the ‘feeler’ itself has not been dismantled and thus remains unchanged.
RESPONDENT: I found this working for me rather than going through the whole structure of what caused this feeling etc. as it seems to become circular in my case.
VINEETO: When feelings seem ‘to become circular’ I found it helpful to find out the reason why particular feelings were so ‘sticky’, why it was important for me to feel this way, why I was afraid to question the particular part of my identity that was related to these feelings.
For instance, at the time when I was busy with my feelings of ‘intuition’, I was at first very irritable whenever the subject came up in a discussion with Peter. Rather than being interested in questioning the veracity and sensibility of my intuition, I was busy defending my belief that intuition was an essential part of my survival and wellbeing. It took a couple of weeks until I grew weary of my irrational behaviour and then I started to look into why I was so desperately defending something that was obviously a passionate belief. I began to understand that my very resistance to search for verifiable facts gave evidence to the passionate nature of my belief in intuition. Once I had understood this much about the matter, I gave myself a kick in the bum and began to inquire into the issue with renewed intent.
RESPONDENT: 2. The thoughts and feelings seem the substances of the inner world; the ‘thinker’ and ‘feeler’ seem to be inferred and an underlying property of the thoughts and feelings (not of all thoughts and feelings).
3. The thinker manifests himself as thoughts; and the feeler as ‘emotion backed thoughts’ and feelings.
VINEETO: Yes, with one exception and that is that the human brain is capable of ‘self’-less thought, as can briefly be experienced in a pure consciousness experience. In a PCE, the clear thinking process that epitomizes apperceptive thinking has no ‘underlying property’ of either an ‘I’ nor a ‘me’, neither ‘the thinker’ nor ‘the feeler’. Richard says about apperceptive thought –
Have you ever contemplated about the wondrous activity of your heart beating, your eyes seeing? Have you ever reflected upon the magic of the millions of chemical processes that contribute to you being alive this moment? Have you ever observed and thought about the amazing abundance of life forms that have taken billions of years to develop on this planet and have culminated in human beings, who are not only capable of thinking and contemplating but are also able to be aware of the very act of being conscious? This fascination with the wonder of it all can develop into amazement, which, combined with reflection and contemplation, can produce apperceptive awareness, which happens when the mind becomes aware of itself. In such a moment of apperceptive awareness you can experience for yourself that ‘I’, the thinker, together with ‘me’, the feeler, cease to be and thinking takes place of its own accord.
RESPONDENT: Thanks for the very lucid and succinct description of the actualism method; I would like to just add my observations to what you said (I have divided your description into three parts):
I think a) is extremely important. If not done diligently, it leads to denial of the feeling and also distortion of steps b) and c). If I don’t fully feel and acknowledge the feeling/ emotional reaction, it means that I have not fully come to terms with the whole of the feeling; I still have some vested interests in continuing to feel that way and I would trick myself to lie in the surface if I don’t take a good look at the whole of the feeling. It seems to be so difficult to stay with the feeling. (...)
In fact some of the spiritual practices seem to point to this step (observe the feeling, don’t run away, escape as is done normally) – but I think either deliberately or inadvertently end up inducing dissociation. And since it is painful to stay with some feelings, dissociation seems to come naturally.
VINEETO: All spiritual practices I have come across and have been taught suggest to ‘observe the feeling’, or rather ‘observe the thought’ that supposedly is the cause of one’s feelings and then disengage, distance and dissociate oneself from the thoughts in order to retreat back inside and get back to feeling ‘who you really are’.
As for ‘deliberately or inadvertently’, as a generalization, ‘normal’ people inadvertently dissociate from being here, spiritualists do it deliberately as part of the teachings. After all, people embark on the spiritual path in order to disengage or dissociate from the world because they are discontent with or appalled by the world as it is and people as they are.
RESPONDENT: And the watching/observing of the feelings can go on endlessly as it is not coupled with b) and c) – in fact the practices actively discourage b) and funnily even c) – as the aim does not seem to be ‘happy and harmless’ but only ‘observing/ watching/ attention’ etc. – so the continued suffering is not questioned and considered okay as long as one ‘watches/ observes/ attends to’ and is seen to be the best one can do!
VINEETO: Yes, in spiritual practice the ‘watching/observing of the feelings can go on endlessly’ until one succeeds to completely detach oneself from one’s imperfect ‘self’ such that the illusion of a new identity is created, an aggrandized impersonal ‘Self’, a disembodied watcher or observer. The purpose of all spiritual methods is to distance oneself from one’s bad feelings, believed to arise from conditioned thoughts, whereas good feelings such as love and compassion are greatly encouraged.
‘The continued suffering is not questioned’ because suffering is regarded as the very mud from which the lotus of Enlightenment will arise – without suffering there would be no need for dissociation. The feeling of suffering is aggrandized into a feeling of universal sorrow or divine compassion.
RESPONDENT: When b) is done without a) (not exactly, but somewhat in ‘cognitive therapy’ and some psychoanalytic methods dealing with the cognitive distortions – or as in watching the ‘thought’ as opposed to the feeling) I think the root cause is not seen and a lot of effort is spent in trying to sort out and it gets very complicated and does not produce a fundamental solution (results in better coping-up). Also not having acknowledged the feeling, the feeling is at work when doing b) – so there are lots of distortions and confusions that can arise. Moreover, the situation can get complex because of further triggers in feelings and the crucial information is lost because of not doing the a). Since the issue with this step is complexity, trying to keep it simple (or trying to find that which ‘ticks’ is very useful.
VINEETO: The very reason why psychoanalysis and other self-investigative methods of dealing with one’s feelings do not work is because the necessity that human beings remain ‘feeling beings’ is never ever questioned. That’s why ‘you can’t change human nature’ can be seen as the mother of all beliefs – this fundamental belief prevents any sincere exploration and keeps any method of self-investigation superficial at best and delusionary at worst.
VINEETO: Cultivating the attentiveness required for the actualism method to be successful is not akin to some sort of meditation that you do ‘while going to sleep or when [you] have nothing else to do’. If you want to change your life from feeling ‘reasonably happy’ to feeling good to feeling happy to feeling perfect, then attentiveness needs to be applied each moment again, regardless of what it is you are doing at this moment and regardless of where you are at this moment.
To use the example you related to No 3, when ‘preparing for a presentation’ you focus your attentiveness on how you are experiencing this moment of being alive whilst doing the research and activities for the presentation and in doing so you become aware of what causes you to have sad, anxious or irritated feelings during this activity. When cooking dinner, you ask yourself to how you are experiencing this moment cooking dinner, when driving a car you pay exclusive attention as to how you are experiencing this moment while diving along the road, and so on.
RESPONDENT: I am somehow unable to follow this approach. When I am preparing a presentation or writing a mail or reading a book, I cannot focus my attentiveness to how I am experiencing this moment of being alive, because these tasks require exclusive attention for themselves. Yes, while cooking dinner or while driving I can focus my attention on how I am experiencing this moment, because these jobs do not require exclusive attention. I think there are two different things we are talking about. I would like to understand how you can have exclusive attention to two attentiveness oriented tasks at the same time.
VINEETO: Actualism, being non-spiritual, non-philosophical and down-to-earth, is like any other pursuit in life. For example, if your aim is to win the Olympic gold medal in the 5000m marathon, then you will spend your days training and exercising until you are confident of reaching your goal – you will stream-line your whole life, putting all other desires aside, to make sure you reach your goal and you won’t let off until you have perfected your skills. But if you only want to do a little bit of jogging to see if you like it or not, then you won’t need to practice, you won’t need to change your life, you won’t need to perfect your running style.
As for ‘how you can have exclusive attention to two attentiveness oriented tasks at the same time’ – if your attention is exclusively focused on the task at hand, then you can become attentive to the fact that you are absorbed in the doing of the task. Very often when the doing of the task is totally enjoyable you have no time for feeling sad, dull, resentful, irritated or apprehensive and then you become aware that you are feeling perfect accomplishing your task. If, however you become attentive to the fact that your attention is not exclusively focused on the task, then you can become attentive as to why not. If you become aware of feeling annoyed or frustrated whilst doing the task then it is obvious that you are not feeling happy and then you can become attentive as to why this is so.
Of course, attentiveness is acquired like any other skill in life – you begin with the easy and graduate to the more difficult. First you begin being attentive as to how you experience this moment of being alive when brushing your teeth, getting dressed, having breakfast, waiting for the bus, driving a car, standing in the elevator, cooking a meal, watching television, and so on. When your attentiveness increases through practice, you advance to the more involved and more emotionally charged occupations of your day. Again, it all depends on your intent – no interest, no effort, no result.
RESPONDENT to Gary: I realize that ‘nipping it in the bud’ could be interpreted as either suppression, or as you say
The latter is what I intended, and your description jibes with that. As an example, the other day I had an angry moment, and I popped off at someone in an inappropriate (aka violate common consideration for others) manner. The moment swept me along, so there was little I could do to ‘nip it in the bud’, but the following feelings of embarrassment and shame I was able to ‘nip in the bud’. They arose, I recognized them, then got back to being H&H.
VINEETO: In the process of becoming happy and harmless, my main focus was on becoming harmless, i.e. ceasing being aggressive or angry towards others. In this case investigating my feelings means that I examine what triggered my eruption of anger, what caused me to up my defences, what is it that I am being defensive about and what part of my identity felt threatened and therefore caused me to react aggressively.
Once I am able to isolate the issue in question, then the next step is to clearly look at all aspects of this particular area of identity, be it an authority issue, a gender identification, professional pride, a certain belief or worldview or any other cause that made me react in an aggressive or inconsiderate manner.
The difference between maintaining a social or spiritual moral code in order to keep a lid on outbursts of anger and the process of actualism is that in actualism I am changing my behaviour by incrementally removing the very triggers for feeling irritated, annoyed, resentful, threatened or aggressive.
To achieve this, I not only have to ‘recognize’ the arising feeling as a feeling, but I have to search for and identify the part of my identity associated with the feeling – ‘me’ as a woman, ‘me’ as a national identity, ‘me’ in my professional or work role, ‘me’ as a partner or family member, ‘me’ as a social identity with a particular philosophy, culture, religion or worldview, etc, etc. Unless I recognize, examine and finally incapacitate the part of my identity who feels offended and therefore responds offensively either covertly or overtly, there will inevitably be a similar harmful response in the next similar situation.
As for ‘feelings of embarrassment and shame’ – those feelings quickly became redundant as I incrementally succeeded in ridding myself of malice and sorrow. As an actualist, I set my sights higher than merely keeping the lid on my instinctual aggression by living by the rights and wrongs of some moral or ethical code. Actualism is about becoming free of malice and sorrow via a process aimed at ‘self-immolation – it is not about controlling one’s malice and sorrow via a process aimed at ‘self’-perpetuation.
RESPONDENT: <snipped a bunch of stuff I understand>
VINEETO: The reason I described the investigation process in detail is that nipping feelings of embarrassment and shame in the bud only serves to stifle the investigative process. To get rid of embarrassment I had to find the cause of my embarrassment – in the case you described the outburst of anger – and then in the same way follow up the reasons for my outburst of anger as I have described above. Embarrassment and shame are only the tip of the iceberg and nipping these first indicators of ‘me’ in action in the bud puts a full stop to further investigations and does nothing to eliminate the underlying causes for feeling shame and embarrassment.
VINEETO: The process you seem to be describing as ‘they arose, I recognized them, then got back to being H&H’ has a striking resemblance to the method of Vipassana. This Buddhist ‘watching practice’ is based on the understanding that ‘who’ you really are is your ‘consciousness’, ie. a disembodied, desensitized ‘watcher’, dissociated from unwanted emotions and thoughts.
In Vipassana, ‘watched’ anger eventually passes away, not because you understand its underlying reason and origin but because you become the watcher and distance yourself from your anger and merely watch it run its course. In the same way you can distance yourself from any feeling or emotion without ever having to investigate the substance of your ‘self’ – it’s instinctual core. To really face the fact that anger is ‘you’ in action, and that ‘you’ are the only cause and reason of anger arising, is the first and essential step to doing something practical about bringing an end to this emotion instead of merely witnessing it and waiting for it to pass away.
Actualism is not a method of passively monitoring, watching or observing one’s feelings – actualism is a method of actively investigating the origin of those feelings and thus rocking the very core of one’s identity.
RESPONDENT: Actually, my experience to date is kind of opposite of that. The ‘watcher’ is a useful component of the actual No 38, whereas the ‘dissociated’ entity is the identity, that which has the emotions and learned responses. I am being careful with that word ‘dissociated’ as it could imply suppression, sweeping it under the carpet. The whole point of this work is to keep it in clear view so that it can be taken apart, piece by piece, and that can’t be done if it’s hidden away.
VINEETO: This is the nub of the misinterpretation I was trying to explain. The ‘watcher’ is not ‘a useful component of the actual No 38’ – there is no way to experience the actual No 38 except in a pure consciousness experience. In a PCE the whole identity – both the ‘watcher’ and the ‘watched’ – temporarily go into abeyance.
VINEETO: Are you saying you grant that –
The consequence of this agreement becomes apparent in your next paragraph.
RESPONDENT: But until my identity is eliminated (if that ever happens), I need to use some tools from my present perceptive context. That includes such artificial mechanisms as a ‘watcher’ or ‘monitor’, or forcing myself to remember to HAIETMOBA. By their nature, they are contrived, and certainly not for the long term. One day I would hope to abandon them when the need for them has passed, much as a child removes the training wheels from the bike, and experiences riding fully unencumbered.
VINEETO: If I understand you correctly you say that
Above you ‘granted’ my statement that
Putting the two together you are then saying that
VINEETO: I remember well the trouble I had in wrapping my mind around the fact that all my good intentions in being a good person were but my ‘self’ playing ‘self’-sustaining tricks. The diagram ‘180 degrees opposite’ in The Actual Freedom Trust Library is intended to clarify the difference between the traditional approach and actual freedom. Understanding the exclusive nature of the two approaches is paramount to comprehending the difference between actual freedom and spiritual freedom and how one needs to make a clear break from any form of spiritual ‘self’-improvement in order for actualism to work.
To really let this understanding sink in may serendipitously and fundamentally rock your world and, as a result, may bring about a ‘self’-less, ‘watcher’-less, pure consciousness experience.
RESPONDENT: It’s difficult for me to clearly convey this stuff into words and I would appreciate the feedback on the above. I take pains to be aware of any self-delusional tacks, but I think we are talking about the same thing here. I’ll wander through your provided links as a check.
VINEETO: My feedback is that you and I are talking about two different methods, each designed to give two quite different outcomes. The practice of ‘watching’ is designed to create a split personality where one part of your personality – the good No 38 – watches the other part of your personality – the bad No 38 – in an effort to dissociate yourself from the unwanted parts of your identity. The identity of the watcher is based on the understanding that ‘who’ you really are is your ‘consciousness’ and this ‘consciousness’ or ‘actual being’, to use your words, then dispassionately watches the unwanted emotions and ‘learned responses’ of the ‘other’ identity. Both identities are one and the same, two sides of one coin.
Actualism is the method specifically designed to bring both identities to an irrevocable end.
RESPONDENT: So, ‘nip it in the bud’ doesn’t imply suppression, just an acquired skill in processing the emotions as they arise. As Vineeto discussed in another thread, it’s not necessary, or even useful to pump this through the grist mill every time, just recognize it as another manifestation of a fairly well understood response. Of course, there needs to be a check on this process to ensure that this categorization is not self-deception, a red herring.
VINEETO: I take it that the thread you are referring to is from my recent post to Gary –
When I said ‘after sufficient exploration into the human condition’ I was referring to several years of actively dismantling and intensely exploring all aspects of my identity – an identity that was clearly seen and recognized in numerous ‘self’-less pure consciousness experiences as being an all-pervading yet non-actual ‘presence’. Such pure consciousness experiences are vital to the intent to investigate one’s identity because only in a PCE can I see, by the very comparison of ‘my’ absence, what havoc ‘I’ am continuously causing by ‘my’ very presence and what confusion, diversion and cunning ploys ‘I’ am inventing in order to stay in existence. The comparison of a PCE to ‘my’ normal life as an identity within the human condition also gives me the confidence that when I am ‘nipping feelings in the bud’ I am not repressing, ignoring or sidelining a ‘precious’ part of my identity.
RESPONDENT: I’m not sure I see where the misrepresentation lies, presumably where I used your name...
which referred to your statement...
I am fuzzy on the misunderstanding, would you please clarify?
VINEETO: The misunderstanding is about practicing ‘nipping feelings in the bud’ before the nature of what it is you are experiencing is fully understood. The practice of ‘watching’ does not lead to fully understanding how ‘you’ as an identity manifest yourself – how you have been programmed to operate both socially and instinctually – because the ‘watcher’ is part and parcel of ‘you’ as an identity. With the ‘watcher’ in place any nipping of feelings in the bud can only be repressing, ignoring or sidelining a ‘precious’ part of your identity. I cannot say it more clearly than that.
RESPONDENT to No 23: The point I was trying to make was that actualism is fundamentally an intellectual process used for a non-intellectual end. HAIETMOBA is essentially a parlour trick in an attempt to bootstrap the mind into a PCE.
VINEETO: The point you are trying to make is clearly erroneous, as it is a misrepresentation of what has been elucidated on the Actual Freedom Trust website many times over. This is how the actualism process is described –
How you can make this into ‘fundamentally an intellectual process’ has got me beat. When I use the actualism method as described above it is not intellectual at all but a process of being aware of whatever is preventing me from feeling happy and being harmless right now. Put succinctly, the actualism practice is something one does and, as you know, doing something is not the same thing as thinking about doing something.
Asking myself how I am experiencing this moment of being alive is not ‘a parlour trick in an attempt to bootstrap the mind into a PCE’ – it is a method undertaken with the sincere intent to rid myself of the feelings of malice and sorrow in order to bring about peace on earth. A PCE can happen as a result when diligent and persistent attentiveness causes a crack in the bubble of one’s normal ‘self’-centred perception and the ‘self’ spontaneously and temporarily goes into abeyance.
RESPONDENT: It’s really just a mantra. The problem I had with this (and maybe others) is that my mind gets stuck in the mantra, and it becomes the end in itself.
VINEETO: Of course, when you reconstruct the actualism method into an intellectual exercise for selfish purposes (solely to induce an other-than-normal-experience) then it is no wonder that you have turned it into a meaningless mantra.
Has it ever occurred to you that the question ‘How am I experiencing this moment of being alive?’ is not merely a sequence of letters (‘HAIETMOBA’) but that it is a genuine question that demands a sincere answer, which requires that one is vitally interested in being here?
RESPONDENT: I’ve done enough reading and discussion now to realize that I’m just repeating myself. Think about it – what can be said on the 4 million words on the AF site that can’t be written in 1 or 2 pages? (that’s why I like the Advaita writings... the books are thin). Are we all so thick that we need to be fed the same material over and over again in slightly different variations? The answer is, of course, yes.
VINEETO: The biggest obstacle to understanding actualism is that sincere seekers who come to this site are already conditioned, trained and indoctrinated with spiritual/ philosophical concepts, which have already been integrated as a central part of their identity and thus actualism is at first merely seen as another version of the familiar Tried and Failed. I had the same difficulty when I first encountered actualism but I also had sufficient discontent, disappointment and doubt about the spiritualism process I had practiced for almost 2 decades that I was keenly interested in finding out if there was something fundamentally new in what Richard was saying even if that meant abandoning all I believed to be true and right.
The other night I had a realization about the way essential changes happen in my life and that is by determining the direction and then taking a leap. Determining the direction in which I want to go often takes some time because I need to investigate the various alternatives and then determine which of them I am sure I don’t want to do. It is a process of elimination whereby the only certainty is that I know that I am dissatisfied with things as they are, that I know where I don’t want to go and that the new will only become apparent after I have taken the leap of abandoning the old. The reason why doing something new is so frightening is because in order to take the jump I have to take both my feet off the ground – there is no slow motion and no certainty what the new will be like. I am doing it for the first time and more information and understanding will only be available after I have taken the leap. Yet I also know that unless I want to remain frozen in fear or compromise by being comfortably numb there is no way of avoiding such radical jumps into new territory.
Examples of such leaps were when I left home at 18, when I got divorced at 23, when I quit my first job as a drug counsellor at 25, when I sold all my possessions to go to India and live in the commune of a spiritual master, when I left the spiritual commune to come to Australia, when I irrevocably abandoned my Cinderella dream of love in order to be able to relate to a flesh and blood male human being instead of a dream prince, when I quit my job with the Sannyas community, when I irretrievably abandoned my belief in a divine Existence and its unfathomable mysteries only to discover that the actual is magical beyond my wildest imagination.
The point I am trying to make is that unless you are willing to question and throw out everything you have practiced so far – because you can recognize and acknowledge that your present philosophy hasn’t delivered the goods and because you are vitally interested in peace on earth – you cannot help but misunderstand and misconstrue what actualism is about and how the process works in practice. The diagram on The Actual Freedom Trust Library page endeavours to illustrate that one needs to completely backtrack from all of one’s spiritual, social and philosophical indoctrinations and beliefs, throw out everything one has unwittingly taken on board, rediscover one’s naiveté and start afresh – nothing less than abandoning the old and making a fresh start will do.
RESPONDENT: That’s the human learning process, same as e.g. mathematics. Personally, I’m at the point where I’m not reading or thinking anything new, so my intellect is full up.
VINEETO: If that means that you don’t want to engage your brain in order to learn and understand something entirely new to human history then actualism is clearly not for you. An actual freedom is utterly unnatural in that it goes against one’s intuition, one’s feelings and one’s basic instincts, and it is absolutely unfamiliar (unless one manages to remember a PCE). In order to understand what an actual freedom is about you would need to be sufficiently motivated to make the effort and have the patience to try to clearly comprehend what is been talked about – not because it is difficult per se but because it is contra-intuitive and threatening to one’s very being.
RESPONDENT: Since it’s obvious I’m not going to think my way to awareness (or whatever), a more visceral approach is needed. I think No 60 is saying roughly the same thing in his response.
VINEETO: Intuiting what is right and wrong, good and bad, true and false (the ‘visceral approach’) will only reinforce what human beings have been doing all along because intuition itself is sourced in the instinctual passions.
Actualism is neither an intellectual exercise nor a visceral discernment of what is right and wrong but a method designed to increase one’s attentiveness of the three ways one experiences life – cerebral (thoughts); sensate (senses); affective (feelings) – with the straightforward intent to become unconditionally happy and unconditionally harmless. And attentiveness is not something you ‘think’ your way to but you simply begin to become aware, as in notice, what you are thinking, feeling and sensately experiencing.
RESPONDENT: I’ve been following the mailing list for a while, but haven’t taken the plunge until now. So here are some of my thoughts about what you have written. I think what you are describing is the witness capacity or witness position. Yes, old meditators would probably be fairly successful at moving into the witness position. In spiritual practice the rule of thumb is that you are not anything that you can observe. So, the trick is if you can see something, a feeling, a thought, etc. as it ‘arises,’ the fact that you are capable of witnessing it means that you are larger than it, not defined by or ultimately identified as the thing (feeling is the best example) that is being witnessed. The problem, as you seem to surmise, is that there continues to be an implied ‘you’ doing this witnessing. The feeling or thought has become an object of consciousness, but the sense persists that there is someone one, some Who doing the witnessing. Of course, this fuels the search for the ‘real’ you.
As you mentioned, the ‘watching self’ is very, very passive. It just popped into my mind that this is like a possum, a mammal that avoids danger by playing dead. The witnessing self is free of and thus not identified with the thoughts or feelings that are arising as long as it maintains its position of emotional neutrality. If the emotional neutrality possum stance is overwhelmed either by the strength of the thoughts or feelings being witnessed, or the lack of vigilance by the witnessing self, boom, the self is right back in the throes of being all those feelings and ensuing thoughts about the feelings that were driving it bonkers to begin with.
What is referred to in spiritual literature as ‘stable witness’ will ensure a pretty good state of emotional balance, but only pretty good, because a self/Self is still present, and where there is a self there are the primitive, instinctual emotions. It’s a question of when, not if, those emotions will be activated.
So, I think that playing possum, i.e. dissociating from feelings and thoughts, can only give one a relative (although nothing to sneeze at) freedom from the sway of emotions, because there is still present a separate self sense, no matter how elevated. In the more modern theories of spiritual process, it is no longer demanded that the state of emotional balance be perfect. However, they all claim the ability to witness the feeling, even while experiencing the feeling.
VINEETO: I enjoyed your expertise in this summary on witnessing. A well-described précis of something that I spent years practicing and, upon discovering actualism, many months to comprehend, take apart and see through the whole charade. I particularly liked when you said –
One of the best things that could happen was that spiritual teaching has moved to the West and into the age of information technology – one can now apply detailed scrutiny and comparison and ascertain the facts as to why this Ancient Wisdom has not worked anywhere, at any time.
Isn’t it amazing that the whole spiritual empire stands and falls on this one premise –
It sounds logical at first, but once I understood that the brain has the innate ability to observe itself, the whole imagination of a separate self, the watcher, watching my thoughts, feelings and actions lost its foothold and was revealed as the fairytale it is – a passionate make-belief to prove our immortality, the ‘Witness’ that supposedly survives the physical body. No factual evidence can ever be established about a watcher that continues after death. It is the fatal flaw in spirituality, the bodiless spirit itself. It is not actual, per definition.
In a Pure Consciousness Experience it is blatantly sparklingly obvious that ‘I’ don’t exist and that there is nothing inside this flesh and blood body to survive physical death. What a relief!
RESPONDENT: In the spiritual process (even if you have not achieved perfect control of the thoughts and feelings) once you’ve gotten the clue that you are not the things you are witnessing, you start looking for the witness itself or, I should say, the Witness Itself. If you are rigorous in your investigation, you will finally come to the conclusion that there is no Witness to be found. Then you are left with witnessing. The question is, will it be Witnessing or is there simply a flesh and blood body present with the capacity to be aware of its own awareness?
VINEETO: This is where Actual Freedom lies 180 degrees opposite to all spiritual belief. As an actualist I am not concerned about witnessing at all but about removing any belief, emotion and feeling that prevents me from being happy and harmless in this very moment. I don’t witness the Witness in order to remove him/her, I use awareness to scrutinize my accumulated beliefs, investigate the underlying causes of my emotions each time they occur. When this investigation is undertaken with sufficient intent and depth, a realization will occur such that action inevitably follows changing my behaviour towards becoming more harmless and happy. ‘I’ am my emotions and instinctual passions and the witness/Witness is merely a by-product of these emotions and passions.
Coming from spiritual practice I had to unlearn passive watching and undo the ‘dissociating from feelings and thoughts’ in order to apply sensible thought to question and eliminate beliefs and to experience and investigate emotions and feelings. Once you abandon the idea of a Witness, there is only one self, ‘me’, my identity, whatever hide-and-seek games we have been taught to play with it. It makes it all so very simple, practical and effective.
VINEETO: What you call the ‘gobbledy gook’ that everyone is ‘taken in by’ is, in fact, the foundation of all spiritual belief – the battle of good against evil, God against the Devil, the Higher against the Lower – and this battle is represented in hundreds of imagined, deeply felt and variously symbolized dualities. Within the Human Condition, nobody has a chance to escape that ‘gobbledy gook’, it comes with the mother’s milk. For instance, I had believed that my mind was divided into male and female, with an ‘inner and outer’ male and an ‘inner and outer’ female as well! Every childhood fairy tale has a bad guy and a hero (who marries the princess) and, as we grow up, this atavistic battle of ‘good’ against ‘evil’ is instilled into each person as a life-long struggle against their inner evil. It is the basic premise of human logic that everything must have its opposite and the best one can do – up until now – was to hope to ‘transcend’ the opposites. Duality is the very foundation of the ‘self’.
In order to backtrack out of the myriad notions of duality I deliberately stopped the spiritual practice of selectively watching and prejudicially labelling my thoughts and feelings. The so-called choiceless awareness is not choiceless at all. Instead, I put my whole emphasis on consciously experiencing and actively investigating the emotions that were underlying each upcoming feeling or belief in order to identify ‘me’, this singular alien entity inside this flesh-and-blood body. Given that this entity is lost, lonely, frightened and very, very cunning, my investigation needed stubborn bloody-mindedness and sincere intent so that I would not end up fooling myself.
RESPONDENT: Also, I appreciate the simplicity and commonsense of this approach. The spiritual universe is sooooooo convoluted.
VINEETO: Yes, in the actual world there is no duality whatsoever because when the ‘self’ disappears, the feeling of separation and any notions of duality also disappear. So now, instead of enhancing the ‘Good’ and fighting the ‘Evil’, I trace down both good and bad feelings and instinctual passions and aim for immolating the very ‘self’ that maintains the feeling of separation and the notion of duality in the first place. I am reminded of poor Cinderella who had the job to sort out peas into large ones and small ones – now I am simply throwing out the whole lot, all of me. That’s what makes actualism so simple – for the ones who are daring enough.
RESPONDENT: I think the main problem for me and also probably for most people is to overcome the habit of following emotions or impulses that habitually arise in one’s psyche. For a simple example if I sense an itch on my arm I usually scratch the itch instead of paying attention to the itch, investigating the sensation behind it. I think the itch is a good example because, at least in my case, when I start paying attention to it the itch intensifies before it goes away. Likewise when I feel unappreciated at work I tend to compensate with food or sometimes (especially in the past year) meditation!!! I would feel really calm and good after Vipassana. (...)
VINEETO: Vipassana has to be seen within the whole context of Buddhism to understand its intentions and implications. Vipassana is the particular method to reach to the Buddhist’s highest goal – Nirvana. The idea in Vipassana is to become conscious of the sensations in the body, of the ‘stress’ of the sensations, feelings, desires, attachments etc. in order to extract one’s self from those stressful feelings. You are supposed to learn consciousness in order to become the Consciousness, thus removing your ‘self’ from the content of what you sense, feel and think. Have a careful read through the following discourses on ‘feelings’ and ‘mind’ by Buddha in the Satipatthana Sutta (MN 10; PTS: MN i.55) and you might understand their emphasis. You will also note that Buddhists don’t make a distinction between sensations and feelings. <snip quote>
Essentially, they say, that you are not the body, not the mind, not the sensations, not the feelings. They say you are the ‘soul’, you are Consciousness. This is 180 degrees opposite to Actual Freedom. In Actual Freedom you are the flesh and blood sensate and reflective body only, no ego, no soul.
But, if you get lost with their many words of going round and round and round then you know that the method is just to hypnotize oneself out of one’s normal way of thinking and feeling to end up in a pleasant drug-like state of no-mind, somewhere else, numbing one’s intelligence as well as one’s feelings and sensations. Spiritual practice is to numb your feelings and emotions while for actual freedom you need to dig into them, feel them, explore them, investigate them and trace them back to the root instincts of fear, aggression, nurture and desire.
In the above article the expression of ‘not clinging to anything in the world’ is the give-away. The whole meditation consists of turning away from something considered ‘unwanted’ to something considered ‘wanted’ – which is a moral evaluation of good and bad. The whole Buddhist religion is a very moral code of ethics.
Here is a bit more of Mr. Buddha’s teachings of how to get out of their physical senses and retreat into an imagined reality or fabricated peace and tranquillity. Of course, practicing Vipassana is like being drugged by an overdose of pain killers – when you don’t feel anything, see anything, hear anything, it is kind of peaceful – I would rather call it numb and dull! And then, removed from the world of physical senses there are no limitations to the full range of imagination – one imagines being peace, light, love, compassion – take anything from the ‘feeling-shop’ whatever you want, nothing is actual anyway.
Can you see the intense effort that goes into changing one’s sensitivity, and into fiddling with the perception of the senses. Everything perceived in the physical world is considered stress and bad, and one has to work hard to dis-associate oneself from it. And yet, they want to call it ‘choiceless awareness’! Give me a break!
Now, back to Richard’s expression:
You see a flower, you become conscious that you see the flower; you become conscious of its form, colours, smell, moving in the breeze and then you become conscious of the delight of your perception, of you being able to see, smell and know about it too. You are conscious of your being conscious. That’s it.
When the Human Condition is in operation, when ‘I’ interfere in the pure seeing of the flower, there is evaluation, feeling, choice, complaint, desire, hope, sadness, anger, etc. You can slowly, slowly become aware of all those emotions in operation, interfering and destroying the pure delight of living in this perfect universe. This ‘I’ is nothing but feelings, beliefs, emotions and instinctual passions, filtering everything that you see, hear, smell, touch, taste and think. When you dismantle the ‘I’ by examining everything that is not actual then you can be here, in this moment, in this place, eyes seeing, ears hearing and brain thinking. Everything else is but a passionate fantasy and imagination.
RESPONDENT: Chasing one’s own emotional states with bare awareness is, I think, similar to a video game where one’s own mind becomes an object of this game. It is quite addictive: A thought – bang – awareness of it. An emotion – bang – awareness, a sensation – poof – awareness. All is happening in real time.
Impatience – bang, a suffocating feeling – ching, a liberating feeling – zap, a body movement – zip. Not unlike a plane taxing and then taking off where the gap between the emotions and the act of seeing (the plane and the ground) is reduced and suddenly everything happens naturally of its own accord. Until the whole thing stops and one becomes afraid again ... until the next time when it starts again: depression – wizzzz, anxiety – poof, breath in / out ... embarrassment – yeeeep.
VINEETO: What a precise and contemporary description of awareness! And it gave me such a good chuckle too.
And you are right, this game is ‘quite addictive’ – I am eager and utterly curious to find out how I function, what’s behind this apprehension, what’s underlying this apparent feeling of boredom – ah, a moral rule, maybe learned in school, or a memory of a punishment when I was quite young, or just a raised eyebrow from some authority I had admired. And when I know where the feeling, the worry, the guilt, the shame are coming from, then I have a choice and I can decide for the felicitous way, the common sense, the harmless, the delight, instead of following the straight and narrow path of what is considered ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’.
Some feelings are discovered and eliminated right away, others are rather sticky and need a lot of ‘wizzz’, ‘poof’ and ‘ching’ before one can add them to the rubbish heap of moral parameters, ethical rules and useless psittacisms and replace them with the sincere intent to become happy and harmless.
RESPONDENT: From what I have read of Krishnamurti – which is not that much – the statement above is not an imperative at all.
VINEETO: All right, if you must say so. However, in order that your objection has some credibility, perhaps you could indicate whereabouts in your limited reading you have found that when Krishnamurti says ‘must’ he really means ‘you do not have to’.
RESPONDENT: If one is to see clearly, one MUST open one’s eyes. And if humanity is to move past its own homicidal and suicidal tendencies, it MUST comprehend and evolve out of its deadly psychological energy habits. When there is no alternative to an impending, deadly crisis, must simply means must; that is to say, if you don’t see that what you’re doing is killing you, your ass is grass. That seems to be the impetus of Krishnamurti’s ‘must’.
VINEETO: There is no choice one can make when one really sees the brick falling above. One MUST duck or one is just crazy, but not for long, depending on when the brick makes contact. When you see you are nothing but a social automaton, that your mind is a slave of the group, that seeing itself is the ‘must’ the drives ‘you’ out of ‘your’ mind.
Ah, if I understand you right, ‘must’ in No. 8’s dictionary means seeing a fact that is blatantly obvious, right?
When I took apart my social identity piece by piece and saw that I was ‘nothing but a social automaton’ I simply stopped being a social automaton. The vital difference is that spiritual seekers have simply swapped their social programming from real-world/religious to the fashionable spiritual world/religious – whereas I stepped out of both. The mere seeing of the fact each time I discovered a piece of being ‘a social automaton’ was enough to make me stop in my tracks. The very nature of awareness is seeing a fact as a fact, with neither love nor condemnation. Upon seeing a fact as a fact, there is action and there is change. Conversely, denying facts entraps one in one’s social identity as a fervent believer, safely ensconced within a group of like-minded believers.
However, the Krishnamurti’s admonition still is that ‘you must love and not condemn’ – which, according to you, is to love yourself and not condemn yourself in the face of humanity’s ‘impending, deadly crisis’.
VINEETO: To discover the actual world beyond my beliefs, feeling and instinctual passions I don’t merely observe what I think, feel and do from moment to moment, but I actively and unconditionally investigate into the cause, the core, the root, the why and how and when of ‘who’ I think, feel and instinctually know ‘I’ am. When I arrive at the root of an emotion or emotion-backed thought and see the passionate investment of my identity wanting to stay in existence through feeling and emotion, I can then deliberately abandon my investment and step out of this particular aspect of ‘me’.
RESPONDENT: You see, the ‘I [who] actively and unconditionally investigate(s) into the cause, the core, the root, the why and how...’ is nothing other than the core, the root itself, projecting itself as the ‘investigator’. What else can it be but that, but conditioning itself calling itself ‘you’ or ‘me’? If that was not so, there would already be total clarity. So if there is something to investigate, there must be an investigator, which is projecting that ‘something’. Perhaps that is the most difficult of all illusions that the mind has to comprehend. Also, a ‘deliberate’ erasure of the root of psychological existence is a contradiction in terms. Again, that implies a movement of consciousness, which is separate from itself, is divided, and through the illusion of that division, imagines itself as capable of erasing itself.
VINEETO: Wrong, in fact. When I actively and unconditionally investigate I make use of the brain’s ability to be aware of itself and therefore I can, with sincerity, persistence and diligence, become aware of my brain’s own programming.
RESPONDENT: Here is the contradiction. How can you ‘unconditionally’ investigate anything when you yourself admitted that you are socially and genetically programmed – which is what conditioning IS? ‘You’ cannot ‘make use’ of the brain’s abilities at all, because ‘you’ are part of the sickness that is the disability of the brain. If there is no actual awareness, there can be no ‘becoming’ aware. It is all just the same confusion going from one ideological pole of itself to the other. And persistence and diligence won’t help you because both imply effort, ‘you’ who are the programming ‘diligently’ and ‘persistently’ trying to end itself. You can’t end yourself because you must always be there ‘persisting’ – diligently.
VINEETO: If you had taken the time to read the whole paragraph before you conclude that it is a contradiction, you might have understood the nature of ‘self’-awareness. When you say that ‘‘You’ cannot ‘make use’ of the brain’s abilities at all’ it is because you have a metaphysical notion of consciousness. You have defined ‘consciousness [as] the energy of thought that is the thinking of the entire species’ which means you are denying the very capacity of the individual human brain to be aware both of its own functioning and of its capacity to be aware of being aware – apperceptive awareness. If you start off with the belief that your own consciousness is the core, the root of ‘all that is’ i.e. God-consciousness, then you are stymied from making any sort of investigation other than finding union with the Undivided Consciousness. This is neither awareness in operation nor an unconditional investigation – this is a fait à complit, based on finding out what you want to find out – seek and ye shall find God, by whatever other name.
VINEETO: The modern scientific empirical discoveries of neuro-biology and genetics, with regard to the human brain and how it functions, have revealed that the brain is programmable in the same way a computer is programmable. The program is formed by physical connections or pathways between neurons, and this program is mostly formed after birth. These pathways (synapse) are capable of being changed at any time. The old connection simply ‘dies’ for lack of use and a new one is formed.
RESPONDENT: That may be so, but ‘you’ ARE the program, and as such, can only prolong it, not end it. ‘IT’ is YOU.
VINEETO: Yes, ‘I’ am the program, but there are three I’s and only one is actual –
‘What I am’ is experienced in a non-affective pure consciousness experience, when both the normal ‘I’ and the spiritual ‘I’ are in abeyance. In a PCE one is startlingly aware of what is different, the absence of one’s own social/spiritual and instinctual programming. After returning to normal one can then proceed to do whatever is necessary to take apart and diminish one’s programming with the effective tool of ‘self’-awareness.
Again, if you start with the Eastern religious premise that ‘who you really are’ is the ‘unseparated, uncorrupted consciousness that is the universal consciousness itself moving as human consciousness’ then you won’t even bother about investigating your own human consciousness. You simply observe it, suppress it, deny it and transcend it such that you eventually convince yourself that you really are the ‘unseparated, uncorrupted consciousness that is the universal consciousness itself moving as human consciousness’. Therefore ‘I’ am no longer that tacky, normal, mortal, program – I am this grand and glorious universal program. This practice of swapping programs or identities is the very substance of all spiritual teachings.
I am surprised that someone who speaks with such confidence about the ‘unseparated, uncorrupted consciousness that is the universal consciousness itself moving as human consciousness’ does not even have the slightest experience and knowledge about the practical down-to-earth application of awareness. By observing and exploring one’s own thoughts, feelings and actions one applies awareness to examine one’s ‘self’. By questioning, examining and persistently investigating one can, in fact, deliberately change one’s actions, for instance stop being malicious, and consecutively eliminate one’s feelings, emotions and instinctual passions.
VINEETO: Further, the human brain is programmed, via a genetic code, with a set of instinctual or base operating functions, located in the primitive brain system which causes automatic robot-like animal reactions of fear, aggression, nurture and desire to be transmitted via chemical messages to various parts of the body including the neo-cortex. Physiological alterations as an adaptation to changed circumstances are well documented even within the lifetime of individual members of a species.
RESPONDENT: But ‘you’ can’t delete the program. You ARE the program, the dysfunction. There is NO EXIT. Now if you can see that clearly, you will naturally become absolutely silent because there is NOTHING ‘you’ can do about ‘you’. That realization by the brain is the ending of its disease, that is, the ending of ‘you’.
VINEETO: By merely repeating the same superstition over and over again it does not become a fact. You may fervently believe that there is ‘NO EXIT’ to the prison of our instinctual programming and social conditioning, but I have experienced over the last three years that there is a successful method to disentangle myself from the insipid social conditioning, from passionate beliefs, from emotions and passions. However, the first step to do so is to forsake the passionate belief in some ‘unseparated, uncorrupted consciousness’, God-consciousness, and in ‘the energy of that universe itself as the human mind, which is ‘cleansing’ itself of the contamination of both genetically and socially based cause/effect reaction’, God’s will. The deletion of ‘my’ program has to be done by me by myself, for there is no energy and no universe that will do it for me.
This passionate belief that the ‘the energy of that universe itself’ ... ‘is cleansing itself of the contamination’ is the very reason that you are so convinced that there is ‘NO EXIT’ to the prison of the program that ‘you’ are. This belief in God-consciousness and God’s will has entrapped human beings for millennia in the concept that it is not possible to change oneself.
VINEETO: ‘Self’-awareness is possible in human beings in that we have the ability to develop and cultivate an awareness of both the social conditioning of beliefs, morals and ethics and the feelings and emotions that result from the chemical surges of the instinctual passions in operation. What one is ultimately attempting to do is to achieve a pure ‘self’-less state and this involves observing, investigating and eliminating ‘who’ one thinks, one is ‘who’ one feels oneself to be and ‘who’ one instinctually knows oneself to be – a radical procedure, to say the least.
RESPONDENT: ‘We’ have no ability at all to develop and cultivate awareness, as awareness is what we are NOT. And ‘awareness’ is nothing but another idea, something ‘you’ or ‘we’ want to BE. But we identify with our own projection-awareness-and feel, in doing that, that we are evolving, achieving, hurling ourselves out of ourselves into ‘that’. Cultivation, achieving, becoming, are all the reactions of cause and effect, of self-thinking splitting itself up into ‘me as the past’ which wants to become ‘me as the future’-freedom, or ‘this flesh and blood body’ and all other kinds of nonsense. The same old illusions-different concepts. That’s all.
VINEETO: By redefining awareness (redefined word number 5) you have successfully rendered yourself useless to do something about the mess in the world – in yourself. By the simple action of redefining awareness as ‘awareness is what we are NOT’ you have passed on the responsibility for your own malice and sorrow on to some imaginary force, a higher entity, a divine intelligence or some ‘universal consciousness’. Now you simply perpetuate the belief and pontificate to others that nobody can change themselves. Maintaining this belief is indeed keeping one trapped in non-action, in useless contemplation, in circular cerebral self-indulgence, in hopeful never-ending waiting that the ‘universal consciousness’ will do its thing. It’s an utterly degrading and undignifying business for an intelligent human being capable of common sense to first invent some higher power and then wait for that power to liberate oneself, in order to identify with or become at one with that higher power.
It is all very simple, really. Awareness is the capacity of the human brain to be aware of its thoughts, feelings, sensual perceptions and actions. This awareness can be used to become aware of, thoroughly investigate and change one’s innate programming, if one is so inclined. It’s time to acknowledge that there is no universal power by whatever name to save us, and it’s time to start doing the job we are here to do – to liberate this flesh and blood body from ‘me’, my ‘self’, and actualise a genuine peace on earth.
VINEETO: It is possible, after all, to change human nature and erase one’s instinctual programming.
RESPONDENT: I think not. Possibility is just a form of hope. If one can imagine what is possible, one can avoid dealing with what is real. It is just common self-delusion.
VINEETO: You would have to say that as the logical conclusion and rational deduction from your belief that –
If I read what you are saying in simpler language, you are claiming that you are causeless, beyond cause and effect – therefore you are irreproachable as to your own limitations and genetically based reactions, because what or who you really are is ‘universal consciousness’. In my book that is avoiding dealing with what is real, no matter how you care to word it.
However, I am simply talking from my own experience. I have erased my social conditioning and my instinctual passions to a degree that I can live in perfect peace and harmony with another human being for 24 hrs a day, seven days a week. I am having a perfect day 99% of the time. This quality of life is a marked difference to my life only 3 years ago and a marked difference to everybody else’s life that I know of. Therefore I can say with confidence and certainty that it is, in fact, possible to change human nature.
VINEETO: Further, ‘uncontracted consciousness’, as in a mind unbounded by any common sense whatsoever, where the ‘feeler’ is very much alive and strutting the stage, has nothing at all to do with a pure consciousness or an apperceptive awareness that is free from feelings and instinctual passions – in fact they are 180 degrees apart.
RESPONDENT: What I refer to as uncontracted consciousness is merely consciousness without ‘you’, the body freed of the redundant and habitual cycle of self-centeredness.
VINEETO: No, No 8. You are franticly back peddling yet again. You have defined your version of consciousness as ‘universal consciousness’ –‘ the energy of the universe’ – which is hardly a ‘merely’.
RESPONDENT: Apperceptive awareness is just another intellectual term to describe uncontracted consciousness. Uncontracted consciousness is a term that originated out of my own perception.
VINEETO: Do you mean to say you coined the term ‘uncontracted consciousness’ because nobody else had a similar experience and therefore nobody else had described that particular experience before, that the experience is original, that it is non-spiritual, purely No 8’s own? Let’s see in what context you are using your new term –
There is no such thing as a universal consciousness other than in the hearts and minds of human beings. The physical universe has no consciousness per se.
In your eagerness to explain yourself using terms of Richard’s description of Actual Freedom you have conveniently overlooked that apperception is the brain’s ability to be aware of being conscious. This has nothing to do with the meta-physical ‘universal consciousness’ ‘uncontracted as ‘me’ or ‘you’’ that you have accurately explained in your recent post to No 1 as –
This ‘uncontracted consciousness’ is when ‘you’, the ‘self’, are expanding into the consciousness of the species, also known as the psychic web. All sentient beings, to a greater or lesser extent, are connected via a psychic web ... a network of energies or currents that range from ‘good’ to ‘bad’ and from the Divine to the Diabolical.
With apperception one becomes aware of the folly of ‘uncontracted consciousness’, one becomes aware of the psychic powers and grand feelings that are part and parcel of this collective consciousness and in that clear awareness of the nature of ‘uncontracted consciousness’ itself one steps outside of this psychic web, outside of humanity, outside of ‘the energy that the brain produces as a species’.
When the astronauts orbiting the moon in Apollo 8 first saw our planet earth rising from behind the moon, one of them said ‘I saw the earth as it really is’. The photo of the earth rising over the moon’s surface has become famous ever since all over the Western world. The astronaut saw the earth from far, far away, and saw it as a whole blue planet, magnificently hanging in space. Only by being separate from the earth could he see what this planet is in fact.
This is analogous to what apperception is to ‘uncontracted consciousness’. When one develops apperception one becomes aware of the ‘consciousness,... the energy of thought that is the thinking of the entire species’ and by seeing it for the folly it is, one then steps out of it. With apperception one steps out of the real world and the psychic world into the actual world. Apperception is to be the senses as a bare awareness, a pure consciousness experience of the world as-it-is. Because there is no ‘I’ as an observer and ‘me’ as a feeler to have sensations, I am the sensations. There is nothing except the series of sensations which happen ... not to ‘me’ but just happening ... moment by moment ... one after another.
RESPONDENT: Apperceptive awareness is a term you borrowed from somebody else. When you don’t borrow from another’s knowledge, then what will you do?
VINEETO: No, No 8, using the same term for the same experience – apperceptive awareness – is not a problem but a useful practice for clear communication. When I write I only use terms i.e. language, that someone’s else has used before – but I make sure that the terms are specific and according to the facts. When I use the term apperceptive awareness then I make sure that I have thoroughly understood that my experience refers exactly to the same experience that Richard is describing.
This is called calling a spade a spade and not ‘a conglomerate of vegetable and mineral matter most commonly used by animate life to excavate and move vegetable matter’. Whereas you prefer to invent your own terms for your experiences and then substitute them arbitrarily with whatever other terms you read, without taking the care to ascertain that the experience being written about is in fact the same as your own.
RESPONDENT to No 14: But the day you wake up to your awareness, you don’t let the animal in you rule you. I used to fear my animal take me over totally, now I enjoy being taken. It isn’t anymore to it than this.
VINEETO: This is where our aims clearly differ. I set out to eliminate my ‘animal’ in me in order to be able to rely on myself completely so that I can be sure that I would not cause harm or feel sorrow. From the way you use the word ‘awareness’ it seems rather a tool for control (as in ... ‘don’t let the animal in you rule you’), although then the ‘now I enjoy being taken’ does not make any sense to me.
What do you want to achieve by waking up to awareness. You seem to mean something different when you use the word than I do. That’s were I found the fundamental difference between the spiritual approach to the human capacity for awareness and the way I used it to become free. One can use awareness to investigate and eliminate conditioning, emotions, beliefs and instincts – to become completely free of the Human Condition (hence you perceive me as being unhuman).
The spiritual approach to achieve enlightenment, however, uses awareness to create a separate entity, the ‘watcher’ and teaches to shift the identity from normal to the ‘watcher’. But it leaves all the instincts and emotions intact, albeit apparently dormant, but they can erupt if that new grand identity is threatened. Not only in my personal life, but also on a global scale I found that spiritual approach to awareness very wanting in its attempt to bring an actual peace. It has neither brought me peace of mind and it has vastly contributed to all the wars, rapes, murders and poverty in the world.
VINEETO to No 8: Isn’t it a wonderful thing to discover a nasty trick of this very cunning entity, and by discovering it disentangle oneself of its tentacles? You move from not objecting to – to agreeing with – to beginning to investigate into – to becoming thrilled and finally obsessed with the journey into your psyche – slowly freeing yourself of the stranglehold the Human Condition has on us!
RESPONDENT: Yes, Vineeto, you are right. What you describe here is a really slow and arduous journey just to find out in the end that the psyche as such is nothing but a mind full of nasty tricks. Why move so slow when you can just step right out of the whole thing?
To be the watcher, the witness is to be out of the mind.
VINEETO: So is that why you are on the spiritual path – it looks like a short-cut? The way you described the whole process is like a real short-cut, shifting one’s identity from the nasty tricks to the wonderful identity of being the removed watcher.
It reminds me of another instant solution that is offered now-a-days: if people have trouble finding a suitable girl-friend, then she is not willing to have as much sex as the man wants, then there is daily quarrel from living together, then the unresolved question of having children or not, then the money spent on her etc etc. So, the instant solution – why not step out of the whole relationship trouble, be the watcher, get a blue movie and have virtual pleasure instead? Much quicker, much cheaper and discard-able as well!
With the watcher, the witness, you not dis-identify from the mind, but also from the body and thus from the actual world. You go into a fantasy world where you are ‘one with the universe’, living in perfect love and bliss, imagining yourself to be God or something similarly grand, in short, off the planet. Of course, it appeals, since the world where we find ourselves in is littered with sorrow, malice and anxieties. The spiritual solution is to just say, ‘this ‘body-mind’ is not me’ and you then you will be out of trouble.
But your body is not a projection on a screen that can be switched off. Pity, isn’t it? Your body needs food, a place to stay, money to be maintained, healthy to be well, it can be physically hurt by others and then feels pain. It is actual. Further, this body is inflicted with the Human Condition of malice and sorrow. Although these emotions, beliefs and instincts are all products of the imaginary ‘self’ (or ‘Self’), they are very real when experienced by yourself and others around you.
So, you say, one is imagining all this and it is not happening or it is an illusion, and further that you are only witnessing it from some inner world which cannot be talked about – but only felt.
I went in the opposite direction – I decided to clean up myself from this alien entity that is the root cause for all the experienced misery and suffering. Then I don’t need to go ‘somewhere else’, then I can be here on this abundantly verdant planet earth and delight in experiencing this physical universe as a sensate and reflective human being.
VINEETO: With the watcher, the witness, you not only go out of the mind, but out of the body and out of the actual world as well. You go into a fantasy world where you are ‘one with the universe’, living in perfect love and bliss, imagining yourself to be God or something similar, in short, off the planet.
RESPONDENT: Are you telling me that I go into a fantasy world? It is obvious you know nothing about witnessing.
VINEETO: I know witnessing, and that’s why I say one goes into the remote fantasy-world of the ‘witnesser’ where he ‘feels’ dis-identified from the pains and emotions of the normal world, in order to ‘feel’ blissful and compassionate toward everyone who is not so remote yet. You say it yourself:
RESPONDENT: As Vineeto and Peter often point out, the mind is also very good at splitting a bit of itself off to become ‘the watcher’.
VINEETO: I have said to No 12:
and to No 4:
This is different from mind splitting a bit of itself. The psychological and psychic entity is shifting all of its ‘self’ to the ‘watcher’.
RESPONDENT: I am beginning to agree that that is a nasty trick of the mind. I hear Vineeto and Peter saying that this is the last trap.
VINEETO: Yes, it is a trap, but if you ask me, I would say – not the last. It is rather one of the first traps one encounters discovering and investigating the Human Condition. And again, it is not the ‘mind’ but the psychological and psychic entity inside of us, which includes emotions and instincts.
On the way to an actual freedom, the first thing is to acknowledge that one has, in fact, got a spiritual identity – on the spiritual path one has consciously created the ‘watcher’ who is holier than thou, superior, more loving and far advanced to those who are ‘unaware’.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.